2021 finalists for the FreshGrass Awards

The FreshGrass Foundation has announced the finalists in their 2021 FreshGrass Awards for unsigned bluegrass, old time, and Americana artists. More than $30,000 is to be awarded to the winners in five categories, with three finalists in each.

Winners will be announced from the main stage at the FreshGrass Festival in North Adams, MA (September 24-27), following live competition before the judges. These finalists were chosen from among the many submissions received on video earlier this year.

And the finalists are:

Band – $5,000 grant

  • Circus No. 9 – Bristol, TN
  • Max Schwartz Bluegrass Band – Miami, FL
  • Never Come Down – Portland, OR

Banjo – $2,000 grant

  • Max Schwartz – Miami, FL
  • Megan Mendenhall – Boston, MA
  • Tray Wellington – Jefferson, NC

Fiddle – $2,000 grant

  • Ella Jordan – Central Texas
  • Marina Pendleton – Nashville, TN
  • Sofía Chiarandini – Boston, MA

Guitar – $2,000 grant

  • Ben Garnett – Nashville, TN
  • Korey Brodsky – Boston, MA
  • Sam Leslie – Nashvill, TN

Mandolin – $2,000 grant

  • Dylan McCarthy – Lyons, CO
  • Sam Leslie – Nashville, TN
  • Thomas Cassell – Bristol, TN

All finalists also receive a cash grant to help cover expenses to the festival in September. Bands receive $1,000 and instrument finalists $500. The band winner also receives studio time at Compass Records in Nashville. At least one previous band winner has ended up with a Compass contract as well. Instrument winners are also given a new instrument from one of the competition sponsors.

More information about all the finalists, along with video, can be found on the FreshGrass Awards web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.